India's first 100 MW offshore wind project to come up in Gujarat coast

The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) and the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) together with a consortium of partners comprising National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL), Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Power Trading Corporation (PTC) and Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd (GPCL) will be setting up India's first offshore wind power project in the Gujarat coast.

The partners today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up a joint venture company, which will build the first 100 MW demonstration offshore wind power project along the Gujarat coast.

Speaking on the occasion, union minister of state (independent charge) for power, coal and new and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, described it as a great opportunity in the development of renewable energy resources in the country. He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message in the US was loud and clear that renewable energy is the way to go - it dovetails world's concerns about climate change and enhances India's energy security.

Considering the country's 7,600-km long coastal line, Goyal stated that opportunities for scaling up are humongous. The minister also suggested building partnership with the Navy, Coast Guard and the shipping ministry to ensure seamless and time-bound approval of offshore wind power projects.

The joint venture company will undertake detailed feasibility study based on the inputs received from pre-feasibility studies as well as steps necessary for implementation of the first offshore demonstration wind power project.

The ministry proposes to provide financial support for setting up transmission infrastructure for evacuation of offshore wind power to the mainland, including financial support for carrying out studies such as wind resource assessment, environment impact assessment (EIA), oceanographic survey and bathymetric studies.

The ministry would also assist in obtaining clearances involved during the implementation of the project.

The demonstration project will provide enough learning to move into this sector by taking up similar viable projects in future, enabling India to enter in the club of countries who are in the business of offshore wind power generation, the minister said.

Goyal said his ministry has also prepared a draft National Offshore Wind Energy Policy and has circulated a cabinet note for inter-ministerial comments. Finalisation of the proposed National Offshore Wind Energy Policy will provide a conducive environment for harnessing offshore wind energy, including setting up of a demonstration offshore wind power project to showcase technology and build investors' confidence, he said.

In early 90s, the ministry had taken up onshore demonstration projects in various states. A total of 71 MW of demonstration projects have been set up in 7 states, leveraging wind power capacity of around 22,000 MW with private sector investment. The ministry has now decided to go for a demonstration of off-shore wind power projects to show-case the possibility and viability of such projects in the country.

Some sites were identified along the Gujarat and Tamil Nadu coast, which have good wind power potential for development of offshore projects, the minister said, adding that since, GPCL has shown interest, it was decided to plan the first offshore wind power project along the coast of Gujarat.

Worldwide, offshore wind power projects aggregating to about 7.5 GW capacity have so far been installed. These include 4.2 GW in the UK, 1.2 GW in Denmark, 0.7 GW in Belgium 0.6 GW in Germany, 0,4 GW in China 0.2 GW in the Netherlands and 0.2 GW in Sweden, he added.